The University Libraries'Jesuitica Collection is comprised of books and manuscripts by and about the Jesuits, including anti-Jesuit writings, from the founding of the Society of Jesus in 1540 to the present. The collection focuses on works published prior to the suppression of the Jesuit order in 1773, and is the largest, most comprehensive collection of its kind in the Western Hemisphere. In addition to works on history, theology and philosophy, the collection includes major holdings in the fields of science, mathematics, exploration, archaeology, language, travels, the arts and culture. While the bulk of works in the collection are European-focused, the collection also includes rare and significant holdings on the Americas, Asia, and Africa. The Society of Jesus, whose members are called Jesuits, was founded by Ignatius of Loyola. It is a male religious organization of the Catholic Church. Jesuits are noted for their work in education, research, and scholarly pursuits. Boston College is a Jesuit University.
The standard reference work for research into Jesuit writings up to the end of the 19th century compiled by Aloys de Backer, Carlos Sommervogel and others, the 12 volume set of the Bibliothèque de la Compagnie de Jésus is available in its entirety.